I have vented and complained on here before about the comments that people make when they see me with my four children. You know the ones:
– You have your hands full!!
– You know how that happens, right?
– Are they all your’s?
– You’re not planning to have any more, are you?
– I don’t know how you do it!
My personal “favorite” is the slack jawed stare that I so often get when I am out and about with my crew.
Instead of rants and vents about how frustrating and hurtful these comments can be, I thought I’d share some pleasant responses that we moms of multiple children (although it really applies to parents PERIOD) can give to these folks who look at us as if each of these children is an extra head growing out of our bodies!
1. Full Hands, Full Heart. Children are a blessing and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Shocking and counter cultural, don’t you think? I so often see people fuss on facebook when they have seen a child misbehaving or a parent “unable to control their child”… but rarely do I see people post about parents that are trying and doing a great job. Children are a blessing. Yes my hands are full. Yes it is trying, but I chose this life… and I like this life.
2. In response to “you know how that happens, right?” … Yes, and I happen to like it very much.
That should wipe the smug look right off their face.
3. Yes, they are all mine. Each and every one of them is a part of me and I love them dearly.
Sure, I would rather respond with sarcasm, ” wait, how did all these kids get here?” “who are you and why are you calling me mommy??” “no.. they aren’t mine… shhh… don’t tell, I’m taking them home with me.” But really, what’s the point? Claim these little ones whether they are behaving or not and be proud that they are your children. Whether you gave birth to them yourself or adopted them or are fostering, etc… you worked hard to get them!
4. I don’t know how I do it either, other than by the grace of God. Parenting is hard work! Some days, we just survive!
I mean, are they really asking for an answer when they say “I don’t know how you do it?” Why not use the opportunity to share the truth with them? They initiated after all. You could give them an entire breakdown of your day from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed with a complete itinerary and recipe list, activity guide, etc. But that might be a little over the top.
5. To the blank stare, slack jawed gawker, Just Smile and Wave!
I think about the penguins from the movie “Madagascar”… just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave. Maybe even grab a couple of your little ones up in a big bear hug and declare loudly, “I love you so much!”
How do you do it? How do you respond. I am trying to be better. I am trying to be more pleasant. I am sure that my responses have done more harm than good in the past. But I’ve had to realize that the commenters will always comment. The stares will always come. I just need to be responsible for my response.